2013 NFL Draft Sleepers
By Tyler Lurkins
Each and every year, a few no namers rise to the ranks of elite status in the NFL draft. Still called sleepers, they receive so much hype they are as much a household name as the top 5 picks. This year, every major network and draft site have already located the usual suspects and are praising the talents of their so called sleepers. Michael Buchanon, Eric Fisher, Zach Dysert, Khasim Greene, and Margus Hunt are all a few recognized names being tossed around. Why not call them what they are. They’re not sleepers, they are potential first round picks.
A sleeper should be defined as a prospect, not warranting much attention prior to the draft, that no matter where he is drafted, becomes a major contributor on an NFL team. Here is a list of a few unheralded players, who all have a chance to become solid NFL players.
- Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan-Is Robinson a household name? Absolutely. He can still be a sleeper though. Robinson may set the record for the fastest 40 yard dash at the combine. Speed sells, and let’s not forget Robinson was an electric return man before turning QB. I’m listing him as a sleeper due to the fact he may very well be a first round pick. The versatility that he brings to the table is hard to ignore. From special teams to QB, and also RB and WR, Robinson potentially creates nightmares for opposing defensive coordinators.
- Andrew Jackson, ILB, W. Kentucky-Jackson is a player who surprisingly stays under the radar. Often fighting through double teams with chip blocks, Jackson’s stats are eye popping. However, he catches your eye in film stacking blockers or exploding through the line. Even against Alabama, he often beat the bevy of first round prospects that the Tide has on their line. Jackson is a missile. With no reason to return for his Senior year, after a good combine he could be a late first round pick. Especially with the 34 teams missing inside LB’s like Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Indianapolis.
- Josh Huff, WR, Oregon-Much like Denard Robinson, speed sells and Huff has plenty of speed to give. Widely rumored with sub 4.3 speed, Huff could be a dangerous return man. Recruited as a running back, Huff has limited experience running routes, but has sure hands, separation, and elusiveness. Although under 6’ tall, Huff borders at 200 lbs, which makes him a stout target who should withstand beatings in the NFL. Facing injury concerns as a Junior, Huff may leave school as his position is widely underutilized, especially with the firepower Oregon possesses at QB and RB.
- Manase Fokiti, G/T, West Texas A and M-A left tackle transfer from Kansas St., Fokiti is destroying the competition in the DII ranks. It is yet to be sign how his transfer will sit with scouts. After injury, and graduation, Fokiti felt uncomfortable with the coaching staff. KSU refused his release, and Fokiti left them for a DII school. However, he controlled the best rushers in the Big 12 before now. Strength, burst, fundamentals, mirroring, are not in question with Fokiti. He will probably be a mid 2nd round pick at the earliest as a left guard.
- Brandon Williams, DT, Southern Missouri St.-Williams is a beast measuring in at 6’3” and 330 lbs. What makes him different from any other big man is his makeup. He doesn’t carry much fat on his body and he a quick twitch player. That is what is starting to draw notice. Williams draws double and triple teams on every play, and although against small competition, he blows every blocking scheme to bits. Extremely quick off the ball, Williams is hard to contain. Scouts will love his desire and work ethic and he could vault into the bottom of the 2nd round. He can play the 5 technique, under tackle, and in the 34 could become a very solid NT. After watching one of his games, he is as good as advertised and could start on most D-1 schools.
- B.W. Webb, CB, William and Mary-Speed, speed, and more speed. Webb is a blanket corner who runs with any receiver in any league. He can jump out of the gym and makes a play on every ball that comes his way. Also excelling in special teams, Webb will be coveted as a return man and nickel corner. With the lack of depth at corner in the 2013 draft, Webb could sneak into the 2nd round but will more than likely be a 3rd pick.
- Greg Reid, CB, Valdosta St.-With the ability to redshirt, Reid may stay in school. A stellar return man and decent corner, Reid was a blossoming star at Florida St. Disciplinary measures derailed his career there, and he was set to play a year at Valdosta St. before entering the draft. It’s yet to be determined what actions Reid will take when healthy again, but if he enters the draft, he should be a 3rd round prospect.
- Luke Marquadt, LT, Azusa Pacific University-Marquadt has the body to play NFL at nearly 6’10” and 330 lbs. A want to be basketball player, Marquadt played TE and converted to LT. Displaying great fluid movements, and coordination, he keeps pass rushers at bay at the DII level. The most intriguing aspect is Marquadt is being coached by hall of famer Jackie Slaton.
Check out my 2013 NFL Mock Draft and others below: